Mother doesn't grasp that her incontinence problem is unsanitary and doesn't clean up her accidents when we are in public. What should I do?

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My mother doesn't grasp that her incontinence problem is unsanitary. If she has an accident, "nobody notices." She must have early dementia. Some days, she is "with it" and will go to the bathroom, change her Depends when they are wet and take care of herself. Other days, she will tell me nothing is wrong when she is soaked! She sits the chairs, sofa and thinks nothing of it. This happens when she is at her home, out shopping or dining out. I make her go to the bathroom as soon as we get anyplace, but sometime she refuses saying she "doesn't have to go." Last Saturday, she had loose stools along with urine before I could get her to the restroom. She wanted to finish her lunch and said "Nobody noticed anything." I know I didn't want to finish my lunch! I carry extra clothing, wipes, Depends and still something will throw me for a loop. I want to take my mother out and enjoy being with her, but it has really become a challenge.

Answers 1 to 8 of 8
You need to discuss this as sensitively as you can with her and very likely she may resent the input. She needs to know this is a health concern for others as well as herself. Could you bring her doctor in on this issue, often ones parents will listen to someone outside the family and see them as having more authority than say a child or mate etc...
Top Answer
Hi dd~I read your question and this is what I found for you--as it sounds like she needs to be seen by a physician~
When visiting the doctor, bring a description of how incontinence is affecting your Mom's life, including an overview of their daily routine. Some doctors recommend keeping a continence diary to provide a four or five day “snapshot” of what is happening at home. Be prepared to answer questions like the ones suggested by the National Association for Continence. The questions below are only a few from their suggestions.

How much water does the patient drink every day?
What foods is the patient eating?
Does she have any control over urination?
Is the problem better or worse during the daytime or at night?
Is it linked to a physical condition (inability to move quickly, for example)?
When did the incontinence first appear?
Is tyour Mom upset by her incontinence?
How many episodes does she have and in what time period?
Does your Mom understand the signal or urge to urinate or are they unaware of the need?
Is there a burning or painful sensation when the patient needs to urinate?
I sure hope this has been helpful~
Sounds like you are doing the right things...My mother uses the Tena brand underwear and I don't know when she has an "accident" until the next trip to the bathroom...but maybe taking her to the toilet before you leave the house and when you arrive at a restaurant...I know this puts the onus on you but dementia clouds judgement and I doubt that any amount of talking to your mother will help her understand...good luck...things won't get easier
my mom was the same way till I had the DR. discuss it with her then she listened an did what the DR. asked good luck
ddcox, that must be so hard on you. The doctor has to be your best ally on this one. Hope you get some relief in getting through to your Mom. If she is mentally sharp, it may be her pride getting in the way of her acceptance, too.

Daniel Romero's tip about going to the bathroom before leaving the house reminded me of an article written by Beverly Bigtree Murphy which I had come across not long ago. If I gave you the website, it'd be deleted. But here's an excerpt:

"Alzheimer’s Disease is probably the only disease that can aptly be described as being the opposite of birth. The layers of learning that were carefully imprinted on the brain from birth are being eroded away and our people lose abilities in much the same order as they were acquired. Becoming totally continent (able to handle every aspect of hygiene) is at least a 5-year process for a newborn and even then there are few parents who would allow unsupervised bathing. It takes approximately the same amount of time for an adult with Alzheimer’s to become totally incontinent. It begins with the first fumblings with clothing as eye-hand coordination is affected. It moves through rote memory which allows us to dress and bathe without consciously thinking through every step, and ends with the severing of the brain signals to the body and total inability to control bowels or urine.

Incontinence results from progressive brain damage. It isn’t about forgetting where the bathroom is.

Our most sacred role as caregivers, is to help our people move back through the process of life with dignity, acceptance, and love."

As Daniel said, things won't get easier. Whenever your Mom has an "accident," imagine for a moment how confusing it is to have to live life on rewind mode and then being chastised for most of it.

-- ED
God bless you, ddcox. I agree with others here calling for the doctor to take a strong role in managing your mother's incontinence.------figuring out how best to do this, if you could get professional help, etc.
I have the same problem with my grandmother. I have to remind her every morning to use the bathroom change her clothes and Sanitary Pad . Unless I do it for her she will not do it. It has become hard since I have been placed on bedrest for my pregnancy. I have to remind her several times a day to change her clothes as she is starting to smell. I unfortunately can no longer bathe her daily due to my condition. I don't have the finances to get help or any family that can assist. It is a bit frustrating. She won't listen to the doctor, tried that. I think she just doesn't remember. She also hides the used toilet paper in her room instead of flushing it down the toilet which stinks. I have to look for soiled Toilet Paper every day to avoid that house smelling. I am a bit exhausted and overwhelmed.

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